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Do-It-Yourself Landscaping Ideas

Landscaping is becoming one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States, employing approximately 888,426 people and generating $74 billion of revenue. Many homeowners are interested in landscaping their yards, but may not have the budget necessary to hire a professional. Fortunately, there are many garden landscaping ideas homeowners can use to spruce up their yards on a budget.

One of the easiest things to do to make a yard look better is to designate flower beds. This is even simpler if the flower beds are already installed, and simply need some tidying up. A nice edge between the flower beds and the grass is easy to create, and will make the yard look nicely-maintained almost immediately. Adding or updating the mulch in the flower beds serves many purposes. Mulch will create a uniform look between beds, as well as fertilizing the soil, retaining soil moisture, regulating soil temperature, and preventing the growth of weeds.

With a little more work, a homeowner can order decorative stones or gravel and use them to create pathways, sidewalks, and other pieces of visual interest. Walking paths can be used to emphasize the style of the garden or yard. A whimsical cottage-type garden will look best with a curvy, winding path, while a formal estate-type yard will benefit from straight lines and well-maintained bricks.

Lastly, a homeowner should consider the types of plants they wish to include in their yard or garden. Perennials tend to be lower-maintenance, but annuals are better for homeowners who may want to frequently change the garden's appearance. Trees and shrubs add variety, but can be difficult to remove. Homeowners should plan their garden around their personality, allowing fickle homeowners to change their gardens with ease, and trees and shrubs to stand tall in the garden of someone who dislikes change.

Whether you are installing a new patio, planting a beautiful flower garden, or simply placing some mulch at the roots of your favorite tree, landscaping can be a relaxing way to bring the beauty of nature to your home.

What to Use to Landscape Your Garden

Gardening has always been a popular way to spend time. With as many as 164 million people gardening in the United States in the past 12 months, garden landscaping supplies are in high demand. The type of supplies you will need for your garden depends on what you would like to accomplish in your gardening endeavors.

Organic compost and mulch can benefit produce gardens, flower beds, and even trees. Usually used at the beginning of the season to warm soil, mulch can also be used to conserve moisture and preserve the health of the soil. When added to the soil, compost is a great fertilizer, soil conditioner, and a natural pesticide.

Other garden landscaping supplies you may need are rocks and gravel. Gravel can be purchased in a wide variety of colors and types, allowing gardeners to choose exactly the right type for their needs. In addition to being a great material for paths and walkways, gravel can also be used to build a durable driveway. With proper maintenance, gravel driveways can last a lifetime. If gravel pathways don't suit your taste, you can use brick, large stones, or sand to complete your garden.

Of course, garden landscaping supplies aren't limited to just plant food and rocks. Seasoned firewood for an outdoor fireplace, strings of lights, and outdoor flags can all add personality to your garden. You might also consider adding a small pond, bird bath, or fountain to attract local wildlife. A gazing ball, memorial stone, or comfortable bench will all add visual interest to your garden.

With the right supplies, you can turn your small flower bed garden or window box to a beautiful retreat right in your yard. Even vegetable gardens can be aesthetically pleasing with the right landscaping. No matter how big or small your garden project, you will be able to find the right supplies to make your garden shine.

 

Get Quality Firewood | Springfield, VA

We have probably all seen the people wanting to sell firewood. There are ads listed on the Internet, and sometimes people with signs in their yards with firewood for sale. It might sound like a good idea and might seem like you could save some money purchasing that firewood. But, are you getting quality firewood?

You might be, and you might not be. So, we thought it would be a good time to talk about what is quality firewood and what isn't.

Oak: Oak is one of the best types of firewood, if it's dried properly. When you burn dried oak in your home this winter, it will give you a hot fire that burns slowly. They key is that the oak needs to be aged in a dry area for at least a year. If you are purchasing oak from someone, ask them how long that wood has been drying and where it's been drying.

Birch: Birch will give you a hot fire in your home this winter. However, it will burn faster than Oak, so you will need more firewood if you rely on Birch. On the other hand, Birch is usually less expensive than Oak.

Pine: Pine is easy to find and will dry, or season, faster than Oak or Birch. It's easy to start in your fireplace or wood stove, but it will burn fast and doesn't produce a hot fire. If you use Pine, be careful of sap pockets which can ignite in a chimney and cause a house fire.

Elm: Elm trees are found in most areas of the United States and might be the wood you find a homeowner selling. This is because Elm trees get Dutch Elm Disease and have to be cut down. This wood will provide medium heat, but if you are going to split it yourself, you might find the task difficult.

As you can see, quality firewood is aged wood and there are choices depending on what you want. If you are still wondering what type is best for you, just contact us. We will help you find the best firewood for your home, and we even deliver free!

How to Ensure Your Firewood is Ready Come Winter

With cold winter weather making its way across the country, you've probably already started working on ways to keep your home nice and warm throughout the rest of the season. Whether you use a woodburning stove to heat your home or enjoy sitting in front of a warm fireplace, firewood is an essential item to keep stocked over the winter.

Employing nearly 888,426 people in 401,473 businesses across the United States, the landscaping industry is a major supplier of high quality firewood during the fall and winter seasons. Some people, however, prefer to cut, store and season their own firewood. Supplying your own firewood isn't as simple as cutting logs and throwing them in a pile, and many people end up with wet or unusable firewood when the time comes to use it. If you like to collect your own firewood, keep the following tips in mind to ensure you have usable wood for your fireplace this winter:

Test for Dryness
Wet firewood is no good for starting a fire. These logs are harder to light and won't burn as well as pieces that have been properly seasoned. The best way to season firewood is to leave it out in the sun to dry out, although this process can take quite a bit of time. Since different types of wood dry at different rates, it is important to know how to test the dryness of the firewood. One way to do this is by splitting a piece in half. If the exposed inner surface is damp, the wood needs more time to dry out. You can also try banging two pieces together -- dry wood sounds hollow, while wet pieces sound dull. As a last resort, you can always try to light the wood on fire. If it is refusing to catch, it is likely that the wood is still too damp.

Move to Winter Storage
It is best to store wood outside during the summer to allow the sun to dry out the chopped pieces. Come fall, however, exposure to the elements becomes an issue. Rain and snow can ruin the long drying process that took all summer to complete in just a matter of minutes. To avoid this, move the wood into a sheltered storage space when the cold weather hits to keep it safe and dry from the elements. Storing a small pile of wood in the house is okay, but most should be kept in an outside storage unit to avoid the growth of mold in the home.

Nothing beats sitting in front of a nice, warm fireplace or woodburning stove when the temperature plummets. In order to be able to do this, however, you need a steady supply of firewood to last the season. If you want to take the project on by yourself instead of getting wood from a landscaping supplies store, keep the above advice in mind to ensure you're prepared as soon as the cold weather hits.

Why You Should Consider Firewood for Heating over Other Options | Bethesda, MD

Staying warm in the fall and winter can be accomplished in a number of ways. For instance, you could wear warm clothing throughout the house or use a thick blanket, but this is not always enough for the extremely cold days and nights. Plenty of homeowners resort to using their heater to stay warm, which can be quite inefficient because it warms up the entire airspace.

An alternative to this heating method is using firewood, which you should take into consideration.

Easy to Store in a Garage or Shed

It is imperative to store firewood properly, otherwise you will not have firewood last an entire season. Fortunately, the requirements are simple, keep it at least half a foot off the ground and either in a secured shed or garage. Doing this prevents your firewood from being invaded by pests and moisture.

An Inexpensive Option

Using the heater on a regular basis can add up in costs quickly, which raises your overall monthly expenses. Although you may feel the need to use the heater to stay warm, you can use firewood to produce heat, which makes being around the fireplace enticing due to how warm it can become.

Enjoy the Added Ambiance

In the middle of a cold winter night, it is hard to beat having a warm glass of hot chocolate or apple cider while relaxing with family or friends near a warm and toasty fireplace. The added ambiance from the glowing fireplace does so much more than just the warmth that a heater can provide.

Although getting a cord or two of firewood can seem a little daunting, making enough storage space gives you a great opportunity to land a good deal on firewood to keep warm in the cold.

Please contact us to discuss your options to get firewood delivered for free to your home.Staying warm in the fall and winter can be accomplished in a number of ways. For instance, you could wear warm clothing throughout the house or use a thick blanket, but this is not always enough for the extremely cold days and nights. Plenty of homeowners resort to using their heater to stay warm, which can be quite inefficient because it warms up the entire airspace.

Types of Mulch for Fall and Winter | Reston, VA

If you go to a garden store, you will see there are many types of mulch. We know you want the best mulch for your landscape for fall and winter. So, we we thought we would help you out by talking about each type so you can make the best decision for your landscape.

1. Shredded bark: This is probably the least expensive type of mulch. It is usually just shredded cedar trees mixed with other types of trees. This mulch will decompose slowly, so if you want mulch that will last longer than other types, this is the type to use. However, it is shredded trees, so walking on it can give you splinters. You might need to add some nitrogen to your soil since this mulch can use the nitrogen as it decomposes.

2. Straw: Straw is an easy mulch to use and it will decompose faster than the shredded bark. It's inexpensive, but might blow away easier than other mulches. Before you use straw, be sure it does not contain weed seeds. For fall, the straw provides a golden color which can enhance your landscape.

3. Pine Needles: Pine needles are smaller than straw or shredded bark mulch. They tend to stay in place better than straw. Pine needles are slow to decompose, just as shredded bark. If you have plants that love soil with high acidity, then pine needles are great as a mulch since they increase soil acidity.

4. Bark Nuggets: This type of mulch is larger in size than the previous 3 and is best for flat surfaces. Due to size, bark nuggets are the slowest to decompose, so they will last the longest in your landscaping.

Which mulch is best for you? It all depends on the size you want and if you have a slope or flat surface. If you have more questions, or are ready to have a bulk order delivered, please contact us and let us help.

Choose Gravel for Your Landscaping for Reduced Maintenance | Chantilly, VA

While homeowners have the freedom to choose their own landscape, there are some types of landscape that benefit some people more than others, and you need to decide what you want to meet your needs.

If you are looking for low maintenance, getting gravel delivered to your property is an excellent decision because it is a groundcover that can be used in almost any situation.

No Need to Worry About the Rain

When rain pours, you do not have to be concerned with gravel drifting away with rainy streams. Due to the weight of gravel as a landscaping material, it will stay in place through strong storms, unlike some other options that you continuously need to be looking over to keep it protected.

Reduced Risk of Mold

Depending on how much moisture you get around your property, you may be at great risk for mold. Flat properties fare well with gravel because it does extremely well with water pools, which can take a while to evaporate after a heavy rainstorm. Additionally, inorganic groundcover is naturally resistant to mold, so while it can still form, the chances of it happening are a lot slimmer than organic groundcover.

Can Be Reused

It is hard to get your hands on organic landscape material that can be reused, and this is what makes gravel an excellent choice. Although it may not be organic, it is something you can use multiple times, and it is especially useful for homeowners that like to grow potted plants as the water drainage is amazing.

Contact us for more information about getting gravel for use on your property.

Favorite smells of fall and winter: Firewood is on our list | Rockville, MD

What are your favorite smells of fall and winter? Do you love the spicy smell of cinnamon, the smell of a furnace when it first comes on, the rich smell of fall candles, or the sharp smell of pine sap after you have held a pine cone? 

One of our favorite smells of fall and winter is the smell of a stack of firewood brought in from the cold. As the wood warms, the subtle odors of the trees, such as oak, start to warm the room. 

Then as you burn the firewood, there is the smell of the trees mixing with a subtle smoky smell. It isn't a strong smell, but a smell that reminds us of roasting marshmallows over a summer campfire.

It's also a smell that reminds us of last winter when we spent time in front of the fireplace just relaxing and enjoying a glass of our favorite wine.

Are you ready to enjoy the smells of fall and winter, including the smell of wood burning in your fireplace or wood stove? Have you looked at your stack of firewood lately to see if you have enough for the winter weather that is coming soon? Have you inspected your stack of firewood to be sure it is dry wood so it burns efficiently?

If your answers to those questions means you need more firewood and you need quality firewood, then now is a great time to act. Just contact us and we will be happy to deliver firewood for your winter needs so you too can enjoy the smells of fall and winter as we will.

Topsoil versus Compost | McLean, VA

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between topsoil and compost and what is best for your project? We thought it might be a good time to talk about the difference so you can decide what you need.

Topsoil is the first layer of ground in your landscape. However, topsoil is also a product you can purchase. It is a mixture of mineral grains, organic matter, water and air. That mixture is designed to provide nutrients to plants and help hold water so you don't have areas of erosion in your landscape.

Compost is made of decaying plant and animal matter, so it is organic matter. It doesn't have the same mixture as topsoil, so it has a different function. Compost is designed to provide nutrients to the topsoil and all the layers of soil in your landscape.

Every landscape can use an infusion of good topsoil and compost. We recommend you contact us for help on how much you need. Then after both the topsoil and compost are delivered, it's an easy process. Put a mixture of topsoil and compost in garden beds and rake the mixture into the existing soil. Then add a layer of mulch.

For your lawn, sprinkle a coating of the mixture and then water it. You can even mix grass seeds with this and overseed your lawn at the same time.

The fall and winter moisture will distribute the nutrients to plant roots and throughout the soil layers. Then in the spring and summer you will see the results of plants having that food they need.

Three Helpful Tips For Composting in the Winter

The cold winter season may be creeping up, but that doesn't mean it's time for homeowners to forget about their gardens until spring returns. An eco-friendly, money saving trick that many gardeners have started to utilize is making their own organic compost. While many may think that composting can only be done when it's warm out, this isn't true. Gardeners can continue to support their compost pile throughout the winter months in order to ensure that they have a fresh, nutrient-filled batch of organic compost for gardening come spring. Here are some tips to keep a compost pile alive and well when the temperatures drop and the snow begins to fall:

  1. Feed Microbes - Microbes play a vital role in the decomposition process, but in the winter these little organisms move at a much slower pace. In order to stay healthy and active, microbes need to maintain a balanced diet of carbon and nitrogen. Leftover fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds and eggshells are all nitrogen-rich materials that microbes like to feed on, while leaves, straw and shredded newspaper are all rich in carbon. Adding layers of these kitchen scraps and organic materials throughout the winter will keep them happy, full and active.
  2. Break Up Particles - The larger the scraps are in a compost pile, the more difficult it is for microbes to break them down. To help them out and speed up the process, gardeners can break up food and other scraps into little pieces before throwing them on top of the pile. Particles smaller than two inches are ideal and can also help to form a layer of insulation to keep the heat in.
  3. Keep the Moisture In - Microbes rely on moisture to survive, and the cold, dry air that comes with winter can pose a threat to a moist compost pile. Draping a tarp over a compost pile not only keeps the heat in, but also preserves the moisture in the compost to keep microbes alive. Gardeners who do this should periodically add water to the pile since it will be shielded from natural sources of water. 

Nearly 50% of Americans have gardened in the last year, and over 50% do so to save money on produce by growing their own fruit and vegetable gardens. Organic compost is one of the best natural garden landscaping supplies to promote the growth of these types of gardens, and by taking care of their compost piles throughout the winter, gardeners can start their fruit and vegetable beds off on the right foot as soon as spring arrives.

Landscaping for Fall: Get Your Landscaping Supplies Delivered Free | Potomac, MD

If you have been putting off your fall landscaping, don't worry... you still have some time. The landscaping you do in the early part of this season is necessary for a smooth transition back into the planting season. Not to mention one of the last times you'll get to go outside and truly enjoy the weather. So with all of your fall landscaping supplies delivered free, what are you waiting for? 

Here are some fall landscaping advice to help you along.

Don't be afraid to over-seed your lawn. This is especially true in areas where the lawn may have never grown in fully. So spread as much grass seed as you want to create a full, lush yard come spring.

Fall is the perfect time to add architectural aspects like plant boxes to your home. They can be painted any color you want, are simple to construct, and will give you something to look forward to when warmer weather hits.

Composting in areas that need some extra fertilizer will give the plants in that area a much needed nutrient boost. This is also true for vegetable gardens. Putting your hard-working plant beds to rest for the winter will let them revitalize for the next season.

Have you gotten your spring bulbs yet? Mark your calendar, spring bulb planting time should be done before the first frost (much of northern VA won't see that until around November 10 at the latest). So if you haven't yet, you still have time. 

If you have shrubs or bushes that aren't shielded from the wind, adding mulch around their bases will help to protect their roots come winter (in addition to looking nice). Extra protection from the cold will extend their lives and help them to flourish in warmer weather.

Need help getting your fall landscaping started? Please contact us to discuss your options. Saunders has been proudly offering landscaping materials available for bulk delivery to your home since 1994.

Preparing Your Garden for Next Season with Compost and Mulch | Kensington, MD

Now that the planting and gardening season is coming to a close, and we are preparing for the long winter, there's no better time to get your garden and flowerbeds ready for next season by adding some compost and mulch

The winter can be harsh on soil, bulbs, and perennials. So while a good snow cover can act to insulate many plants, it can also damage sensitive shrubs and trees by placing weight on branches and causing breakage. Which is something that is hard to prevent. What you can prevent, however, is vegetation attrition. Here's how.

Plants

Start with any perennials you have grown. Gently prune back stems and leaves, after the first frost, down to ground level. Collect all of your plant debris and grind it up so you can mix it with your compost. They will work together to condition the soil and generate nutrients. Remove any diseased or broken leaves and branches from evergreen shrubs and trees.

Compost

Leave your garden and flowerbeds free of compost until after the first freeze, then spread on top. This will prevent any rodents from nesting and allow the soil to absorb as many sunlight nutrients as possible before its winter slumber. Spread compost evenly atop your garden and flowerbed, do not blend in too much. Instead, save that process for spring.

Mulch

Mulch is a great solution for protecting the flowerbeds around your home. It adds a layer of protection from harsh weather and protects any bulbs you may have in the ground. It is also advised that you replace any mulch you spread early in spring. It is likely decomposed and in need of a tune up. Don't be shy when spreading the mulch for winter. The added protection will do wonders for early bulb bloomers and add hardiness to perennials. 

For free delivery of compost and mulch, please don't hesitate to contact us to discuss your options.

How Composting Can Help Your Garden Thrive

Gardening is a great weekend activity for homeowners who want to keep their yards looking clean and attractive, and it is becoming a more popular hobby. Almost 50% of people in the U.S. have gardened in the past year. Gardening can improve your home's value, contribute to landscaping designs and, depending on what you plant, it can save you money. Homeowners that spend just $70 on their vegetable garden can get $530 back in produce every season. Often times homeowners find it difficult to keep their landscaping costs down while maintaining a well-kept, good-looking garden. However, simply changing the type and source of soil used in gardening projects throughout the yard can cut costs and help plants grow. But how?

What is Organic Compost?

Simply put, compost is decomposed organic material, but it makes a great alternative to store-bought soil. Homeowners can create their very own compost pile in their backyard by disposing of food scraps, leaves and twigs in an organized manner. Organic composting containers can be purchased at a store that sells gardening and landscaping supplies, or they can be made at home. Once the container is set up in the back yard, a mixture of organic material can be continually added and turned to create the perfect organic compost for all of your gardening needs.

Why Compost?

Composting has a number of benefits for gardeners. First of all, it makes the perfect soil to plant flowers and vegetables in. Organic compost is high in nutrients, and when mixed with other soil, it increases the nutrient content and helps retain moisture, which is essential to growing healthy plants. Using compost for gardening can help plants grow to their full potential. Composting also saves gardeners money. The cost of store-bought soil can add up after a while, whereas growing your own soil is free. Last but not least, composting is good for the environment. Repurposing materials reduces the amount of pollution in landfills, and it has also been shown to prevent erosion.

More and more people in the U.S. are picking up gardening, with many starting to grow their own vegetables. There was a nearly 20% increase in home vegetable gardens between 2008 and 2009, and this number is growing. Compost is one of the best ways to help these vegetable gardens and other plants grow strong and healthy.

Don’t Let the Act of Getting Firewood Precipitate a Personal Health Crisis | Sterling, VA

Now that autumn has arrived, we wanted to caution individuals about the dangers of chopping their own firewood. In addition to the chances of being injured by the axe or chainsaw, there’s also the possibility that it may cause a heart attack. Just ask professional singer-songwriter, Andre Lauren Benjamin, also known as Andre 3000. He lost his father earlier this year in a firewood related incident.

So what causes some person to experience heart attacks while chopping firewood but not others? In a word, it’s inactivity. Experts widely agree that sedentary people are more likely to experience heart attacks when they suddenly become engaged in vigorous activities that tax their cardiovascular system, like chopping wood. Thankfully, there are ways to avoid having that happen.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s experts suggests that people with a history of being inactive should seek out the advice of a trusted physician before engaging in activities like chopping and stacking firewood. That way, the doctor can determine if the person’s cardiovascular system is strong enough for those kinds of workouts. If it’s not, a great alternative is to order firewood and have it delivered free.

We currently sell and deliver firewood for free in both Maryland and Northern Virginia, but stacking service is not included. So it is best for inactive individuals to order the firewood and ask family members or friends to assist with the stacking. If family and friends are not available, it may be prudent to hire temporary help or find someone willing to volunteer his or her time.

Once the firewood is delivered free and stacked accordingly, it’s best to plan ahead. After all, the wood will need to be transported from the stacked piles to the hearth for burning. For that, we’d suggest clearing a path from the stack to the home and investing in a wood cart that’s outfitted with wheels. It will make transporting the logs to the fireplace less taxing on the body.

To learn more and make arrangements to have a full or half cord delivered to your place of residence or business, please contact us while supplies last.

Topsoil 101: How to Apply the Nutrient Rich Soil to Your Landscape | Germantown, MD

How often do you think about your yard's topsoil? Whether it's a regular concern for you or merely a passing thought, the health of your topsoil is crucial to the appearance of your landscape. If your topsoil has diminished due to construction around your home, or it is simply lacking the nutrients to create a thriving yard, you may want to consider purchasing fresh topsoil to bolster the health of your lawn, plants and flowers. The steps provided below will help you introduce a new layer of nutrient rich topsoil to your landscape.

Topsoil For Your Lawn

  1. Whether you need topsoil for a newly planted lawn or your existing lawn has a number of bare spots, a fresh layer of soil can help ignite new life into your grass. To start, simply spread a thin layer of topsoil in the areas where it is needed. Doing so provides those spots with the healthy soil they need to start producing a green and lush yard.

  2. Using a rake, carefully move the soil around to ensure it is evenly dispersed; otherwise you'll be left with areas that don't receive enough topsoil to thrive.

  3. Next, provide your new soil with a descent amount of water. Supplying at least two inches of water for the topsoil's first drink allows it to effectively disperse the fresh nutrients it has into your existing soil.

  4. If you're going to add a fertilizer to your lawn after putting a new layer of topsoil down, be sure you don't overdo it. Unfortunately, over saturating your yard with fertilizer can end up burning the roots of your grass, especially if you're applying it during the summer months.

Topsoil For Your Garden

  1. If you're planning on adding a garden to your landscape, fresh topsoil is a must. The best course of action requires you to mix around 3 inches of topsoil into your garden before planting any flowers. 

  2. After the topsoil is in place, you'll need to use a tiller to thoroughly combine the garden dirt with the new topsoil. You'll know the procedure is done once you can no longer tell the difference between the garden dirt and the topsoil.

  3. Your final step is to water your newly combined soil before you plant any flowers for the season. As with your grass, providing water permits the topsoil to spread the nutrients it carries throughout your garden, which creates the perfect environment for your flowers to flourish.

If you're interested in buying fresh topsoil for your yard, please contact us today to view our inventory of landscaping supplies. 

Firewood Delivered to your Door With Saunders Landscape Supply | Leesburg, VA

Well, it's about that time of year again. Soon, the winter's snow will be piling up around us all and so too will the need for quality firewood that's delivered right to your door. Because when the mercury starts to fall, the last thing you'll want is to be out of firewood to keep you and your family warm.

Not sure what you need? We can help!

Here at Saunders Landscape Supply, we can offer our expert help and advice in any situation. We have, after all, been supplying the Northern VA and MD communities with quality firewood, gravel, and landscape supplies since 1994. So we know a thing or two about the needs of our customers. All you need to do is ask!

Half Cord or Full Cord?

We get this question all the time, and in reality, the answer is pretty simple. A cord of wood is cut to the length of 16-20" (log length) and measures 4 feet deep by 4 feet high by 8 feet long. So depending on how much you need, the answer lies in the amount of each cut.

Visually, the breakdown looks like this:

Cord: 4'x4'x8'; 128 cubic feet stacked in three rows

Half Cord: 4'x4'x4'; 64 cubic feet

Face Cord: (1/3) 4'x8'x16"; 42.6 cubic feet stacked in a row

Quarter Cord: (1/4) 4'x6'x16"; 32 cubic feet

How Much Do You Need?

This a great question, one that we get on a consistent basis. Of course you'll want to be prepared, and there's nothing wrong with buying too much (you'll always need it next winter!). Realistically, however, if you are running a fireplace a few times a week, a cord will last the entire winter season. On the contrary, if you are heating your entire home, or using a wood burning stove, you will definitely want at least one cord, plus a little more for security. 

Ready to have your supply of firewood delivered right to your door? Don't hesitate to contact us to discuss how much you'll need for this upcoming winter season.

Mulch vs. Compost: What's the Difference? | Kensington, MD

Compost and mulch are both useful in gardening, and can be used to solve a number of landscaping issues. Many people think compost and mulch are basically the same thing, but there are a few differences worth noting. Here are some things you need to know that will help you choose the right product for the job.

Mulch is material that is spread over the soil in order to conserve water, control weeds and protect plants from extreme temperature changes. On the other hand, compost is typically added to the soil to help enrich it and provide essential nutrients.

Compost is derived from organic items such as vegetable peelings, egg shells or shredded leaves. Mulch can be made from organic materials such as wood chips or straw, or inorganic materials like shredded rubber or plastic. Some of the same materials used for mulching can also be used to make compost, with the primary difference being that particles are normally shredded very finely when added to compost, and remain much larger when used as mulch.

Compost can be used in place of mulch; however, because it contains smaller particles, it will decompose faster and need to be replaced more often. It is also less effective at keeping weeds at bay than mulch is. Plants are unable to absorb many of the nutrients from compost when it is placed on top of the soil rather than being added to it, which means your garden won’t benefit as much from using it in this manner.

Successful gardeners recommend using compost in the soil and mulch on top so that plants can reap the benefits of both materials. Here at Saunders Landscaping Supply, we deliver both mulch and compost free of charge to our customers. To find out how to get mulch delivered free in northern Virginia, contact us.

Composting in Maryland and Virginia Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated | Chantilly, VA

Have you started composting yet? If not, it’s a task that you may want to consider getting underway now. There are many benefits associated with it and we can help get your pile started quickly and easily. With that said, here’s a quick look at how and why you should put it on your fall to-do list:

To get started, pick a really sunny spot on your property that is away from the house but close enough to be easily accessible with a wheelbarrow in tow. Then buy or make a compost bin and place it in that designated area. The bin only has to be large enough to keep the compost contained, moist, warm, ventilated and protected from the local wildlife. Otherwise, the compost won’t turn out right and the neighborhood’s animals will climb all over the pile looking for food.

Once you have your composting area set up, contact us and order anywhere from 7 to 10 cubic yards of compost. We’ll deliver it for free and deposit the order at the end of your driveway. From there, you’ll need to wheel it over to your composting area and put it into your newly created bin.

Please note that our compost is high in nutrients and ready to be used as you see fit. So you can either stop your composting project right there or continue on by adding to the pile. If you decide to add to the pile, you’ll need to engage in basic composting tasks like wetting and turning the materials every so often. Doing so will help to keep the mix perfect and ready to go, which brings us to the many benefits of composting.

Composting helps add nutrients and structure as well as stabilize the pH levels of soil. It can also help minimize storm runoff problems and help the ground retain the right amount of moisture. Understandably, all of those characteristics will help plants grow and improve the look of a property’s landscaping. To learn more about composting and get started on your project right away, please contact us at Saunders Landscape Supply today.

The Intricacies of Landscaping Preserved Wilderness in the U.S.

Landscaping and the preservation of natural wilderness are two things often at a crossroads. When it comes to wilderness preservation -- and making natural parks ameliorative to visitors -- many people end up misunderstanding the intent of the 1964 Wilderness Act, which says in part that wilderness will be "untrammeled." According to Carol Treadwell, who acts as the executive director of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation, untrammeled does not mean "untrampled" as many assume.


“People think that means you can’t have trails. What it means, what (Act Author) Howard Zahniser means, is it is uncontrolled. It’s a wilderness thing to let wilderness be wild, to let nature take its course," she explained in an interview with the Missoulian.


The impact of people misunderstanding that line can be seen throughout several state parks and wilderness areas. It often becomes difficult for people to navigate through these areas as the paths quickly become overgrown by vegetation. In many cases, gravel pathways or landscaping stones are a useful solution because they do not impede wildlife, yet gravel forms a clear path for visitors to follow while also keeping vegetation on trails limited.


Wilderness Advocate Bob Marshall was, during his lifetime, an important voice for the establishment of untrammeled wilderness, and ensuring that wilderness, while it could be "trampled," was not to be "confined." At the time, many people were arguing that land should be used for the greatest good of the most people. Marshall explained that ecological preservation should not follow this rule, and that many important things in human society do not.


In refuting this idea, he succinctly explained that, following the logical pathway, it would mean that, "The Library of Congress would become a national hot dog stand, and the new Supreme Court building would be converted into a gigantic garage." Even though Marshall only lived until he was 38, during his appointment as Chief of the Forest Service's division of recreation and lands, he helped to protect over 5 million acres of land from both development and logging.


In truth, the Wilderness Act is a balancing act of sorts, encouraging compromise between the desires of communities, and the preservation of natural environments.


"We can’t just sit back and not do anything with the landscape. Humans have impacts. And sometimes we have to cross over to gardener-type activities," points out Rocky Mountain District Manager, Mike Munoz. Many garden landscaping-type activities, for example, involve unleashing controlled fires that allow areas to go through natural cycles, while helping to prevent the runaway-type fires that can destroy homes and farmland. Some landscaping designs are necessary to implement in this type of situation.


Do you prefer using gravel pathways when you visit preserved wilderness areas? Let us know in the comments.

Don’t Forget to Repair Driveways with Gravel Before the First Snow Arrives | Rockville, MD

Before autumn gets into full swing, consider taking a look at your home’s driveway. Are there any depressions, small cracks or huge potholes present? If so, ordering a load of Gray 21A or another form of gravel may be in order. Here’s why:

Gray 21A and other forms of gravel or stone may be used to repair driveway depressions, regardless of their size. If you have a gravel or dirt driveway to begin with, use drainage gravel to create a crown and the Gray 21A as sub-base filler for the depressions. Then top it off with either Bluestone or another type of gravel. We’d recommend making that top layer at least 2-inches thick. Otherwise, you could end up inadvertently removing too much during snow shoveling season.

If you have an asphalt or concrete driveway, Gray 21A may still come in handy. For example, you could use it to partially fill deep depressions. Later, depending on the type of driveway, the holes could be filled to the top with cold patch or concrete. Just make sure that you tamp the materials down accordingly and let either one cure properly before going ahead with any additional fall clean up plans.

The driveway is not the only place where you might want to add some gravel before the leaves fly. It may also be used to improve drainage around your home’s driveway, foundation, walkways, patios, decks, drain spouts and more. Plus, you could always add the decorative gravel to autumn flower beds, potted plants or other landscaped areas. It would help improve the area’s aesthetics as well as tamp down dust and reduce future ice buildup.

To learn more and have Gray 21A or other types of gravel delivered to your home in the weeks ahead, please contact us today. As long as we have the gravel or stone you want in stock, we’ll waive the delivery fee and leave your order at the base of your driveway for easy access.

It's Never Too Soon in the Season to Have Firewood Delivered | Alexandria, VA

We don't want to talk about this anymore than you do, but it's a fact of life. After summer, temperatures start to fall. Then, before you can even say Christmas, it's winter. Not the thing you want to be thinking about in August we know.

But if you are one of the many people in northern VA and MD that rely on firewood as a supplemental heat source to keep your home and garage warm in the colder months, there is no better time than the present to order what you need and be prepared for winter. Besides, letting your wood dry out properly is the key to optimum burning. 

And we deliver free!

So it's the same as picking some out, loading it, hauling it, and stacking it, except we do it all for you. So how do you go about getting what you need? It's simple.

Request Hardwoods

Hardwoods like maple, oak, and cherry burn slower and last longer. Not to mention they don't pollute your flu with deadly creosote like many softwoods do. Request specific wood when you order.

How Much to Order

A cord is cut wood that is measured at ~128-feet, or a stack that is 4-feet by 8-feet by 4-feet. A face cord is 4-feet by 8-feet and is as deep as 16, 20, or 24 inches, a measurement that depends on stove or fireplace dimensions. Order amounts will vary based on size of cuts and need.

Prepare for the Season

Don't forget to have your chimney and flu cleaned once a year. Either professionally or by yourself. A clean chimney is a happy chimney, one that functions with more efficiency, safety, and cleanliness. It is essential for a properly running fireplace or stove.

Live in northern VA and MD (Anne Arundel, Fairfax, Fauquier, Howard, Loudoun, Montgomery, Prince George's, Prince William and Queen Anne's counties) and are ready to order? Then please don't hesitate to contact us to discuss all of your home firewood needs. We have been delivering hand-selected firewood in bulk right to your doorstep since 1994, and all of our products come guaranteed in quality.

Topsoil and Mulch: Fall Rose Care Supply Items Delivered Free in Maryland | Potomac, MD

Before long, it will be time to tuck those Annapolis, Maryland, rose bushes in for a lengthy winter’s nap. So we are encouraging gardeners to get their topsoil and mulch orders in now. In our experience, both items are essential to completing fall rose care projects in Montgomery, Anne Arundel, Queen Anne’s and Price George’s Counties.

Our topsoil is delivered free and it’s perfect for creating mounds that extend about the bud union. By protecting the area up to and above the bud union, gardeners will actually be helping the bushes ease into the cool weather autumns in Maryland are known for. Of course once the ground is frozen, it will be time to break out the mulch.

It is important to note that our mulch is delivered free as well. It comes in your choice of five different forms and assorted colors. The list of mulch types that would be perfect for fall rose care include leaf, double shredded hardwood, wood chip and color enhanced. The color enhanced comes with your choice of a vibrant red, deep brown or black mixture. Understandably, any one of those colors would look fabulous utilized in a fall rose garden or flower bed.

In addition to adding topsoil and mulch to your roses at the proper time, you’ll want to check for potential problems. For example, signs of powdery mildew and black spot may be present on your roses. If they are, the conditions will need to be aggressively addressed before winter settles in. Depending on the situation, you may need to do that by pruning diseased canes, removing damaged leaves and spraying the bushes weekly with special fungicides.

Other items to look for are signs of insect activity. The list of Maryland insects known to damage rose bushes are Japanese beetles, rose chafers and rose slugs. Their presence may require the use of insecticides, traps and hand removal of live, visible bugs.

To learn more about getting fall landscaping supplies delivered free in time to tuck your property’s rose bushes in for the winter, please contact us today.

Seneca Nation Community Decides to Invest in Indigenous Plant Landscaping

Can garden landscaping have political overtones? In many ways, yes, though not perhaps in the manner you're imagining. Landscaping supplies won't be able to clue people in as to whether a homeowner registers as a Democrat or Republican. They can, however, reflect an overall approach people take towards the environment.

Investing in drought resistant landscaping is one example of this, especially in states like California where water-usage has been highly restricted. When it comes to the Seneca Nation of Western New York, native plant garden landscaping is part of their approach -- and it's a move that reflects their overall beliefs about environment preservation.

Ken Parker, the horticultural consultant for the Seneca Nation, lived in Canada for several years before returning to Seneca territory. When he arrived, he found himself flummoxed by the many Norway maples on the territory, as well as future plans to landscape a traffic circle with Dutch bulbs. Under Parker's direction, the Seneca Nation will now be moving to a new policy: native, indigenous plants only.

What, exactly, are indigenous plants? These are plants that are native to the area -- in this case, Western New York -- rather than introduced from other parts of the country, or even other continents. Many gardens today are not "naturally occurring" but instead are colorful, international bouquets. While this is a fairly common practice, Parker suggested that it was not in keeping with representing the Seneca culture and its own beliefs about the importance of perpetuating indigenous land and culture.

What is the importance of preserving native plants? Parker explains in an interview with North Country Public Radio that the decision is "cultural, environmental, and again, it addresses food sovereignty meaning a lot of the plants are edible. These plants are all significant to native culture. Again, food, medicine, dye plants; things we use in everyday life. It is important to preserve those because native plants, like native people, are in the minority."

Parker also explains that, in many ways, plants are a natural resource, and that something is lost when landscapes are consistently plotted the same way whether they're in Denver or Washington, D.C. The gardens themselves might be diverse, but there is an overall sameness when it comes to regional differentiation.

He points out that in many cases, it's just an issue of landscapers being taught to have a preference -- "Things like hydrangea -- there's a big European influence with the landscapers and the nursery industry," he says. However, homeowners can and should feel free to look into the option of native plants -- most landscaping services would, in fact, be happy to explore different landscaping designs that incorporate native plant options. As an added benefit, native plants often require less watering, because they are already adapted to the local climate conditions.

Do you have any interest in incorporating native garden landscaping? Let us know in the comments.

Mulch is Essential for Fall | Herndon, VA

Most of us use mulch when planting new plants to help them grow, and in flower beds to keep weeds from growing as much. However, mulch is one of the most essential steps for fall. In fact, mulching can be the difference between life and death for some of your plants.

Why is mulching so important for the fall?

1. Fresh mulch in the fall is similar to putting an extra protective barrier between

your plants and the winter weather. During the fall, and as winter approaches, the temperature fluctuates and can actually create ground movement that exposes the crowns or upper root systems to freezing weather. Mulch protects your plants from these fluctuations and will protect your plants from freezing.

2. Fresh mulch is needed in the fall to help protect from soil erosion. You might have put mulch down in the spring, but it has started to decompose, and so a fresh layer is needed so the soil doesn't wash away with the fall and early winter rains.

3. A fresh layer of mulch provides more food for worms and micro-organisms. You want this, because those in turn benefit the soil and provide you a richer soil for plant growth the next spring and summer.

So, take a few minutes and look around your yard. How much mulch will you need to protect your flowers, your gardens, your trees, and your shrubs? If you need help deciding how much, feel free to contact us and let us help. We even deliver much free to make the job easier.

Compost: Get Some Life Back in Your Soil! | Chantilly, VA

 

Are you interested in giving your landscaping or garden new life?Compost literally does just that.  Not only will it rejuvenate soil with a dose of nutrients but compost also brings beneficial bacteria and fungi back into your garden beds or orchards, jump starting your food/soil web into action. These microbes will literally feed nutrients to your plants by converting organic matter present in the soil and compost to plant-available food.

Even though compost is widely used these days, not everyone knows that it has been around for centuries. The truth is that civilizations have relied on the 'black gold' since before the time of Moses.  The Romans and Greeks made and used compost as well as Native Americans and European settlers in North America.

Because making compost is fairly easy, it's something you can do right in your back yard.  Collecting vegetable waste from your kitchen is the first step.  Next, you'll want to find a good location, preferably close to where you would like to use the final product.  Begin piling your materials.  Here are some items that will help make great compost:

  • Green, leafy vegetable waste (a source of Nitrogen)
  • Egg shells (a source of Calcium)
  • Coffee grounds & tea bags
  • Unbleached paper products (toilet paper tubes, egg cartons, etc.)
  • Lawn clippings
  • Leaves and twigs

*Do NOT add anything to your compost that has pesticides or chemicals

As your waste materials begin to accumulate, bacteria and fungi that are present in the environment will start the break down process.  Because bacteria need carbon to process all the Nitrogen (wet, green materials), you may need to add dry materials like unbleached paper products, cardboard or twigs and dry leaves to keep the Carbon to Nitrogen ratio in the appropriate place.  Most sources agree that a proper C:N ratio should be roughly 25:1.  When you have achieved the appropriate balance, your pile will begin to heat up.  The center of your pile may hit temperatures as high as 150 degrees as bacteria multiply rapidly and feast on the organic waste you have collected.

The bacteria that you want to be present in your pile are aerobic meaning that they function in the presence of oxygen.  Because of this, you'll want to 'turn' your pile every couple of days using a pitch fork or shovel to re-introduce oxygen to the middle.  Simply dig into the pile, rotating the contents from the center and bottom of the pile to the top.  It takes some effort but will keep the decomposition process chugging along.

You'll need to turn your pile regularly for a few weeks and then occasionally for another month or two as the materials continue to break down.  A great resource for more detailed information of the composting process can be found at HowToCompost.org.

If the whole process of composting is beginning to sound a little daunting or you are wondering how you will find the time and energy to bring compost into your garden, never fear!  Because compost is widely accepted as an amazing soil amendment, many commercial products are widely available.  Saunders Landscape Supply will not only suggest the best compost for your needs, we will also offer free delivery, all you need to do is contact us.